by Andrew Consiglio - Leader and Director of Youth Fellowship
The Gospel isn’t a call not to be human, but to be human in the right way. Christianity does not do away with our desires but saves us from our deformed desires and the serpent’s lie that we are self-sufficient and in no need of being completed by God. Divine revelation shows us that our false loves are only healed by true love, the love of God our Father in His Son Jesus Christ. This can and should be the experience of the disciples of Jesus Christ.
Lent is a time of deep conversion from untruth to truth and points to the satisfaction of our desires. But which ones? That yearning we all have to be fully human and fully alive, our deep desire for enduring happiness and meaning. Sadly we can too easily fall into the trap some Christians are being enticed into: that we can create our own truths and ‘tame’ God. But the faith that saves us requires a continuous and dynamic response and a struggle to live in God’s love and truth as revealed in Scripture and the teaching of the Church. Our way of abiding in God is through prayer, deeper repentance, obedience, perseverance, fasting and so on!
Christianity does not to do away with our desires.
The jubilee year of mercy.
In this jubilee year of mercy, we are called once again to recognise that the essence of our sin is pride and lack of faith in God. It is to realise that sin is turning away from God:‘we like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way’ (Isa 53:6). The Lenten message challenges us to choose between being satisfied to eat the fruit of own ways, in which we will sooner or later choke (Prov 1:31), or to turn to the Father who is ‘rich in mercy’ (Eph 2:4) and whose will is ‘good, pleasing and perfect’ (Rom 12:2).
Yes we do experience setbacks, painful moments and suffering at times. But we also know that God ‘fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them’ (Psa. 145:19). When we humbly and prayerfully turn to the God He empowers us through His Spirit to become more, not less human, more, not less alive.
In Lent we wish to pray that these words from the Psalmist will be a prayed reality for us too:
Praise the Lord O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits — who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.